When I say the word “trust,” what comes to mind?
What if I told you something absolutely ridiculous, would you believe me?
For instance, what if I told you that if you jumped up and down 10 times right now you would turn into a leprechaun. Would you believe me?
Or, what if I told you that you could say any amount of money right now and you would get that much money to spend at your favorite store. Would you believe that?
These kinds of silly ideas might make us laugh. But today, I want to tell you about some directions that a man named Joshua got that must have sounded pretty unbelievable to him.
Many of you might know this story, but let’s all listen together today and see if we can discover something maybe we never knew before.
After the Israelites crossed the Jordan River they were just a few short yards from the city of Jericho. God told them that He had given them the city, and they are about to receive instructions on how they will take this city to be their own.
As Joshua is walking around preparing the people, one of the coolest things happens to him.
Listen to this:
When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand.
Did you catch that? As Joshua is walking around he looks up and sees a man standing in front of him, holding a sword. How crazy would that have been?
We find out how Joshua reacts:
And Joshua went to him and said to Him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?”
You can already tell Joshua is preparing for battle. He looks at this man who has just appeared in front of him and wants to know what we all would want to know. Is he a good guy or a bad guy?
And in the next verse we find out who this man with the sword is:
So he said, “No, but as Commander of the Army of the LORD I have now come.
Wow! Joshua is face-to-face with the Commander of the armies of heaven. Joshua discovers that he has another whole army fighting with him. The armies of heaven!
Before we hear God’s battle plan for Joshua, we get a sneak peek of the way the people in the city of Jericho were feeling.
Joshua 6:1 says Jericho was “securely shut up” because of the children of Israel.
In other words, Jericho had heard stories about the children of Israel and they were nervous! They had probably heard about how the Red Sea had parted and all the people had walked through on dry ground. They may have heard about some of the miracles in the desert. And they probably heard, or maybe even saw, the Israelites cross the Jordan River as they were marching towards Jericho. The people of Jericho are terrified of Israel!
At this point, God gives Joshua his battle plan. God tells Joshua to march around the city one time for six days, and then on the seventh day to march around the city seven times. Once that is done, they are to blow the rams horns and shout. When they shout, the walls of the city will come crashing down.
Now to many of us we remember this story and we know that this is exactly what happened.
But think about these instructions. Joshua likely had some sort of military training and was skilled enough to be able to lead hundreds of thousands of people. When God tells him his military strategy for defeating Jericho is to walk silently around the city that must have sounded very, very strange.
Imagine Joshua telling the people of Israel that the way they are going to defeat Jericho is not by some clever battle plan, not by a sneak attack, and not by fighting a war. No, the way they are going to defeat Jericho by walking, silently, in circles.
It’s hard for us to put ourselves in their shoes because we know what happened in the story. But when the people first heard these instructions they must have been hard to believe.
What if someone told you to walk around your city for seven days in a row, and promised that once you were done the whole city would be yours. That would sound pretty impossible, right?
Even though the Israelites could not see God and they could not see proof that this plan would work, they had faith anyway and obeyed God’s directions.
The first day, the Israelites wake up, get ready, and walk toward the city of Jericho. As they approached the city, the people of Jericho must have started to get worried. Remember, a lot of them knew about the miracles God had already done for them so they were probably worried what was going to happen to their city.
The Israelites got right up to the wall, but they didn’t try to go over it, and they didn’t try to go under it – they simply started marching around it.
Maybe the first day the people of Jericho did not understand what was going on. But by the second or third day it must have started to be a little funny to them. I mean, a bunch of people would walk around the wall once, not make any noise, and then quietly leave and go back to their tents.
In fact, better than me talking about the way they must have felt, how about we watch a little video that many of you may have heard or might even know the song from.
“Keep Walking” Video from Veggie Tales :
Get the picture? I bet many of the people of Jericho never thought that all this walking would knock their walls down.
Now, was it the walking around that made the walls fall down? No, God was the one that knocked the walls down. But the Israelites had to have faith in this very very strange battle plan.
Because of the Israelites faith in God, and because of Joshua’s faith in God, God did what only he can do.
Hebrews 11:30 says by faith the walls of Jericho fell down.
It was only because of their faith in God that any of this happened. They believed in God’s instructions even though they could not see how it even made sense. Joshua and the Israelites trusted a God they could not see because they knew that God can see everything, even how to knock huge walls down.
That is what faith is. Faith is not being able to see how something is going to work out, faith is not being able to see the future, and faith is not being able to see how it all is going to happen. Faith is not being able to see, but trusting the One who can.
Faith says, “God I know you are in control and I know you can see things that I cannot see, so I’m going to trust and obey you even when it all doesn’t make sense to me.”
So the question is will you trust God? Will you put your faith in him? Will you say, “God I can’t see everything, but I’m trusting you because I know you can.” I encourage you to do that today.
Song and activity ideas to go along with this lesson:
Worship Songs: You Make Me Brave, Nothing is Impossible